Teacher Introduction: Our galaxy is a huge place, with billions upon billions of stars and solar systems. Each solar system rotates around the center of the galaxy, just like the planets in our solar system revolve around the sun. The solar system is made up of the sun, the 9 planets and their 135 known moons, asteroids, comets, dust, and gas. The planets, asteroids, and comets travel around the sun, the center of our solar system. Most of the bodies in the solar system travel around the Sun along elliptical (oval, nearly but not perfectly circular) paths or orbits, and all the planets travel about the sun in the counter-clockwise direction (when viewed from above). Solar system formation began billions of years ago when gases and dust began to come together to form the sun, planets, and other bodies of the solar system.
Task: You have been selected to join the ranks of NASA as a Junior Astronaut! You will form a crew and together you will gather and record information about your mission.
Your mission is to investigate a body in the solar system (planet, asteroid, comet, or meteor). When you become an expert, you will voyage to your assigned body, explore it, and finally create and give a multimedia presentation to communicate your impressions and data.
Good luck with your mission! I know you will be successful on your journey and return with exciting information to share!
Procedures: After your crew and solar system body have been selected, complete the following.
1. Your team must conduct research via the Internet to find information on your topic.
2. Use the Data Collection Logs (below) to guide you in collecting data on your part of the solar system. Be sure to thoroughly cover your topic (answer all of questions).
3. Create a multimedia presentation about your exploration and present it to Mission Control and fellow Junior Astronauts.
You and your team will need to go through the following procedures in order to complete your mission:
Pre-flight: Mission Control will assign you 1) a body in the solar system to investigate and 2) a crew to accompany you on this journey.
Step #1: Pre-Flight Training: Design a name and a patch for your mission. NASA space missions all have a distinctive patch design. Check out this website to learn more: http://www.hq.nasa.gov/office/pao/History/mission_patches.html
*Your patch should include the following:
1. Each crew member’s name;
2. Picture of the planet you will be exploring;
3. Name of your mission; and
4. Other information that pertains to your mission.
*Your patch should fit on the sleeve of a jacket. Start by tracing the bottom of a can or some similar object for a basic size and shape.
Step #2: Exploration and Research - Check out the Data Collection Log. Decide which questions each crew member will be responsible for completing about your destination. Click on one of the Resources for your assignment. Read the information and take notes. When you have finished reading the first website, view another website link for your planet. Read the information and decide if there is any new information that should be added to your presentation. Complete the Data Collection Log in your notebook before preparing the slides for your presentation.
Step #3: Re-entering the Earth's Atmosphere
1) Create a multimedia presentation. Remember to include ALL of the data from the Data Collection Log.
2) Create a short quiz for use at the end of your multimedia presentation.
*** For help with your presentation go to http://www.actden.com/pp/ or http://www.nebo.edu/misc/learning_resources/ppt/general/ppt_introduction.ppt ***
Step #4: Back at Mission Control- Crew members will share their multimedia presentations to mission control, scientists, and other astronauts.
Below are the Data Collection Logs for your assigned mission. Beneath each are websites that will help you accomplish your mission. Be sure to answer each * in your multimedia presentation.
Planet Exploration Data Collection Log
Namesake: What is the story behind your planet's name? For example, who was it named after? Why did they call the planet or star by that name?
Symbol: What is the planet’s symbol?
Distance from the Sun: How many miles/kilometers?
Number of planets from the sun?
Distance from Earth?
What is your planet’s diameter?
Period of revolution: How long is one year on your planet in Earth years? In other words, how long does it take for the planet to complete one revolution around the sun?
Rotation period: How long does it take for the planet to complete one rotation about its axis? In other words, one day on your planet equals how many hours/days on Earth?
Moons: How many? What are the major ones called? What special features can you tell us about the moons?
Atmosphere: Is there an atmosphere on this planet? If so, what gases are in the atmosphere?
Temperature range on the planet?
Composition: Is your planet solid or made of gases?
Other interesting facts or special features: Does it have volcanoes, craters, rings, valleys, high winds, etc.?
Your weight on the planet compared to Earth: Is there more or less gravity on your planet or star than on Earth?
Your age on the planet compared to Earth?
How long does light take to reach this planet from the sun?
How long will it take to reach this planet by space shuttle? At a speed of 40,323 Km per hour (the speed needed to escape Earth's gravity), how long will it take to get to your planet?
http://www.space.com/php/multimedia/virtualspacetour/ Space tour
http://www.space.com/scienceastronomy/solarsystem/jupiter-ez.html Scroll down for information on the http://coolcosmos.ipac.caltech.edu/cosmic_kids/AskKids/index.shtml ask an astronomer for kids
Windows to the Universe for your planet's symbol: Click on your planet, then on "Planetary Facts"
http://www.worldalmanacforkids.com/explore/space1b.html All of the planets' symbols
http://sciencemonster.com/planets.html Our solar system introduction, scroll down
nineplanets.org A Multimedia Tour of the Solar System
spacedu.com.pdf Lots of information
StarChild Level 2
http://www.quia.com/jg/66098.html Information on planets' names
stardate.org Scroll down a bit
http://spaceplace.nasa.gov/en/kids/sse_flipflop2.shtml Planet and moon sizes
http://kids.msfc.nasa.gov/Puzzles/Age.asp Age on other planets
http://www.exploratorium.edu/ronh/weight/index.html Weight on other worlds
http://www.lpi.usra.edu/education/K12/planetsize/planetsize.html How long it takes light to reach planets and time to get there by space shuttle
http://kids.msfc.nasa.gov/SolarSystem/ NASA for kids
Solar System Live This is a great website for plotting the orbits of the planets
Welcome to the Plants A good website for pictures of the planets.
National Space Science Data Center Photos
http://www.earth.uni.edu/~morgan/astro/course/Notes/section4/new21.html Uranus, Neptune, and Pluto
http://www.nationalgeographic.com/solarsystem/splash.html Virtual Solar System
Solar System Scale Model
Asteroid Data Collection Log: Describe some characteristics of asteroids by answering the following questions:
From what are asteroids made?
What do asteroids look like?
From where do asteroids come?
Where is the asteroid belt located in our solar system?
Does the asteroid belt revolve around the sun?
How many asteroids are there?
Name and find images of five or more asteroids in the asteroid belt.
What is the largest asteroid? Are there any asteroids headed our way?
What is the largest asteroid?
Asteroids: Zoom Astronomy
Comet Data Collection Log: Describe some characteristics of comets by answering the following questions:
What do comets look like?
Name the four parts of a comet.
From what is each part of a comet made?
What is contained in the nucleus of a comet?
When is the tail of a comet visible?
Where do comets originate?
Do comets orbit in a circular or elliptical pattern?
Name and show images of some famous comets that travel through our solar system.
Are there any comets headed our way?
Comets: Zoom Astronomy
Meteor Data Collection Log
Describe some characteristics of meteors by answering the following questions:
What is a meteoroid?
Are all meteoroids the same size?
What is the largest meteoroid that has collided with this planet?
What is the difference between a meteor, meteoroid, and meteorite?
How many meteors enter the Earth's atmosphere every day?
What do impacts look like? Gather some pictures of craters.
Meteors: Zoom Astronomy
How many meteors collide with Earth in a month
How many meteors enter the Earth's atmosphere every day?
The following sites discuss the differences between meteors, meteoroids, and meteorites:
Frequently Asked Questions
During your Web Quest, you have learned many facts, yet there is much more to learn about our solar system. The vastness of space has given us many challenges and questions. Does life exist elsewhere? What are some of the latest scientific findings? I hope you have enjoyed your trip through the solar system!
Assessment Strategies: Multimedia Presentation, Rubric
1. Multimedia presentation
The point of your multimedia presentation is to show Mission Control what you know. Concentrate on content (the facts about your destination), not just aesthetics (colors and fonts, etc.). Do not let this curb your enthusiasm for this mission.
See Rubric for Assessing Multimedia Presentation #1.
Have students develop a rubric for assessing the patches.
Teacher should use a checklist with questions on the topic to check student logs.